('14+) Keyless ignition won't start, electrical issues, no brake lights, etc. - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Keyless ignition won't start, electrical issues, no brake lights, etc.

'15 2.5i Touring new in August with 2204mi; has keyless entry & ignition. Starter won't engage while backed into the garage.

No unusual electrical fields that I know of, it's never had a problem starting before. There has been no EMP blast in Mankato that I'm aware of.

No extraordinary battery load, no weird aftermarket electrical stuff.

What happened:

Backed car into garage after work, turned it off, decided to run an errand. Sat in car, closed door, foot on brake, pushed the start button and the starter refused to engage: Doesn't even spin. It simply won't start.

The first time I push the starter button, a small amber LED energized in the middle of the button. So it's in accessory position.

So I push the button again (foot still on brake) and it goes into Run or On: All the dash/warning lights come on like normal and the needles swing to the right & back. So now it's in Run without the starter ever engaging.

So I check the lights: No tail lights, no brake lights, no front marker lights but the HIDs and high beams work. And the internal lights work.

Tried pushing ignition with key fob outside car and got the "no key fob detected" dialogue.

Tried pushing ignition with foot off brake and got the "press brake then press start" dialogue.

Check fuses in the dash: I couldn't find a fuse puller so I used a needle nose to pull & check several fuses; all were fine.

Check fuses in engine compartment: Again, no fuse puller, but most are not the kind that I could tell at a glance if they're good or bad.

Climb back in car, turn it off.

Then the radio faceplate remains energized while everything else is off, but it will not turn on... strangest thing ever.

The original OEM Subaru battery seems fine, or at least nothing "dims" unless I turn on the HIDs, but I have no battery charger and no means of testing.

The dealership suggested disconnecting the negative cable from the battery for 15 minutes to try an ECM reset, but that too was unsuccessful.

The 2nd key fob is in the house (not in the garage), so I switch fobs.

Same result, car won't start.

Dealer exhausted troubleshooting techniques over the phone and referred me to Subaru Roadside Assistance.

Flatbed tow set up for 6am tomorrow for a 70mi trek to Morrie's Subaru in Minnetonka. Intent is to take the day off, ride up with the tow truck driver, and hopefully drive either this car or a loaner back tomorrow.

Given the electrical gremlins (radio faceplate remains energized even if the car is off), I removed the negative cable from the battery for the evening in an attempt to keep it from going completely flat.

Sorry for the excruciating detail but I wanted to be thorough in case anyone had any suggestions?

Thanks,

Jiim

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 04:34 PM
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Very odd.

Could be a brake issue with the ignition lock not detecting the brake pedal being depressed.

Try the override described in the "In Case of Emergency" section of the manual.

It is something like holding the key fob against the ignition button for 10 seconds and then pushing the button.


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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 04:35 PM
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sounds like the brake pedal switch has either moved or is defective.

no brake pedal sensed, it wont spin the starter, it also won't light the brake lights.

easy fix, hope it's quickly taken care of for you.

I have a feeling that having the battery disconnected over night may fix the problem though.

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoJosh View Post
Very odd.

Could be a brake issue with the ignition lock not detecting the brake pedal being depressed.

Try the override described in the "In Case of Emergency" section of the manual.

It is something like holding the key fob against the ignition button for 10 seconds and then pushing the button.
Thanks Josh.

I reconnected the battery and followed the "starting engine" steps described on page 9-18. Theoretically when the communication between the access key and the vehicle is completed, a chime (ding) will sound, then at the same time the push-button ignition switch torts to the ACC or ON position.

The ding never happened, so the car is apparently ignoring both fobs. Yet if I leave the vehicle then it says no key detected... argh.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blind View Post
sounds like the brake pedal switch has either moved or is defective.

no brake pedal sensed, it wont spin the starter, it also won't light the brake lights.

easy fix, hope it's quickly taken care of for you.

I have a feeling that having the battery disconnected over night may fix the problem though.
Thanks for your response. And yes it certainly behaves as if I'm not pushing the brake -- but if I push the button without pushing the brake, it recognizes that state, and the dialogue pops up to push the brake and then start the car. Then everything happens as it should except for the part about the starter engaging.

Re rear lights:

The behavior of both tail light assemblies is that nothing lights up. No marker/tail lights, and no brake lights when the peddle is pushed... like a wire's been cut or a fuse has blown, yet the fuses are all fine.

The only lights working back there are the amber directionals.

My boss is NOT happy I'm taking the day off.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=Blind;4037009]sounds like the brake pedal switch has either moved or is defective.

Checked the position of the brake pedal switch. Who knows if it's defective, but it seems to be positioned properly.

They're going to have to use skates to drag this thing out of the garage tomorrow.

So I installed the tow ring on the right fender in case they need to use it at 6am.

Glad I followed GeoJosh's advice from another thread. The D-ring with Daystar rubber bumpers arrived via UPS today, so I installed those as well. They might be getting a workout sooner than intended, haha.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 06:10 PM
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This is weird but it's going to need a tech with electrical and computer certs to do this one. MN is a little far for me.

PLEASE update this thread when you car is fixed.
This is why we have warranties!
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yay warranty! I will definitely update tomorrow. Appreciate everyone's advice and concern. There are good folks on this forum.
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim E. View Post
There has been no EMP blast in Mankato that I'm aware of.
That you are aware of.....


In all seriousness it sounds like the keyless access module went kaput, hopefully its a connect a computer fix, because that part may take a while to get.


Would you be interested in a referral to some contractors that do EMP hardening on the cheap? ; )
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 08:31 PM
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I want to make my bedroom into a faraday cage but the wife wants electricity in there, and cables for the internet.

Sorry, I have nothing to add to this thread.

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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Subaru's automated roadside assistance telephone bot called to cheerfully announce a 1 hour delay. That leaves little for me to do but sit. And think. I might even Google Faraday cage later if boredom sets in.

So I was wondering.

Is there any way to bypass the transmission shift interlock to force it from Park to Neutral to make it easier to roll it out of the garage, or is that another bad idea?
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 03:32 AM
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It would be a better idea to jack it up and put it on dollies to roll it out of the garage. I would imagine the towtruck driver will have an idea what to do.

You could also try putting the ignition in the RUN position, pressing the brakes, and see if it will let you shift into neutral. I am not sure if the CVT will let you, or if you even can when the engine is off. I have done it before on my previous vehicle.

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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoJosh View Post
It would be a better idea to jack it up and put it on dollies to roll it out of the garage. I would imagine the towtruck driver will have an idea what to do.

You could also try putting the ignition in the RUN position, pressing the brakes, and see if it will let you shift into neutral. I am not sure if the CVT will let you, or if you even can when the engine is off. I have done it before on my previous vehicle.
Gotcha, thanks Josh. I'll let the pro's handle it. Last thing I need to do is make it worse before coffee.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 04:40 AM
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Just make sure he does know what he is doing... do not let him just drag it out with it in park, wheels chirping away, unless there is absolutely no alternative.

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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 09-11-2014, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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Just make sure he does know what he is doing... do not let him just drag it out with it in park, wheels chirping away, unless there is absolutely no alternative.
Flatbed tow to Morries in Minnetonka MN. They have a loaner, but I decided to wait for a few hours in case it turns out to be something simple. I'm using Morries' guest wifi.

Mark the tow truck driver noticed a small nickel-sized access panel in the upper left quadrant of the gear shifter. This was removed using a narrow flathead screwdriver. The screwdriver was then inserted into the access hole to activate the manual release, roughly 3" deep. The car then shifted easily into Neutral.

The ignition was turned on to release the steering wheel so I could straighten the wheels, and the car rolled right up the ramp using the flatbed's winch. So no chirping tires

The new Smittybilt D ring with Daystar rubber bumper and washers attached to the removable towing hook worked great.

Mark the driver said they'd never had too tow a Subaru before now, so this was a first for him too. At least it was towed out of my garage instead of a ditch.

Nobody here at Morries has ever seen anything like it. They asked if anyone on SF had any ideas (A+ for using all resources to save time), then resigned themselves to following Subaru's diagnostic protocols.

I'm hungry. And there are no cookies at Morries. What self-respecting shop doesn't bake cookies.
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